William Shatner Lends his Celebrity Horsepower for Therapeutic Riding Partnership with JNF; Press Conference in Jerusalem
May 15, 2006 -- New York, NY -- William Shatner, the former Starship commander and current attorney (in his TV life), is taking on a new role in his real life: the Hollywood star has been named the celebrity spokesperson for the William Shatner/Jewish National Fund Therapeutic Riding Consortium Endowment for Israel.
A press conference will be held on Monday, May 29 at 8 a.m., at The King David Hotel in Jerusalem. He will discuss this new project and why he has chosen to take it on.
Directors of some of Israel’s therapeutic riding centers will be present to talk about the consortium's importance, and riders will be on hand to give testament to the need.
William and his wife, Elizabeth, will be in Israel the last week in May for only the second time in their lives to assess the needs of Israel’s therapeutic riding centers as he takes on this cause. They will spend the week visiting different centers across the country, meeting with center directors and heads of State, and learning about JNF's mission to care for the land and people of Israel.
Jewish and of Polish descent, in his 70s, with a still-hot Hollywood career, Shatner shows no signs of slowing down and is turning his attention, energy, and efforts to reconnecting with his Jewish roots and forging a connection to Israel. To accomplish both he has turned to Jewish National Fund and its work with therapeutic riding centers across Israel.
The William Shatner/Jewish National Fund Therapeutic Riding Consortium Endowment for Israel dovetails with other vital work JNF is doing to help the disabled community in Israel. A recent survey in Israel found that more than 12 million people annually visit JNF parks. But while demand for access to the parks and historical sites has grown extensively, the infrastructure development required to make them accessible to all has been cut due to budgetary constraints. Additionally, it is estimated that as a result of terrorism and military conflicts, the number of Israelis with disabilities has grown by 50% over the last 10 years and will continue to rise by about 5% a year. About 10% of Israel’s population of seven million are people with special needs.
Jewish National Fund, through its Blueprint Negev initiative, a $500 million campaign to develop the Negev Desert, is also making a major impact in the region by partnering with Aleh, an organization that provides children with disabilities throughout Israel with high-level medical and rehabilitative care to help them realize their full potential. Together, they are building Aleh Negev, a state-of-the-art communal rehabilitative village situated in Ofakim, to provide much-needed services and jobs to the area. Aleh Negev will be home to over 500 residential adults with disabilities and will serve some 12,000 children and young adults with disabilities each year on an outpatient basis.
"An ambassador for good causes can bring about good results," said Russell F. Robinson, JNF of America's Chief Executive Officer. "William Shatner is just the person to achieve those results for this consortium. We are proud and honored to launch this relationship with him on behalf of the people and the land of Israel."
Top photo credit: WilliamShatner.com The photo is available as a high-res jpeg.
# # #
JEWISH NATIONAL FUND (JNF) began in 1901 as a dream and vision to reestablish a homeland in Israel for Jewish people everywhere. Jews the world over collected coins in iconic JNF Blue Boxes, purchasing land and planting trees until ultimately, their dream of a Jewish homeland was a reality. JNF gives all generations of Jews a unique voice in building a prosperous future for the land of Israel and its people.
JNF embodies both heart and action; our work is varied in scope but singular in benefit. We strive to bring an enhanced quality of life to all of Israel’s residents, and translate these advancements to the world beyond. JNF is greening the desert with millions of trees, building thousands of parks, creating new communities and cities for generations of Israelis to call home, bolstering Israel’s water supply, helping develop innovative arid-agriculture techniques, and educating both young and old about the founding and importance of Israel and Zionism.
JNF is a registered 501(c)(3) organization and United Nations NGO, which continuously earns top ratings from charity overseers.
For more information on JNF, call 888-JNF-0099 or visit www.jnf.org.